Decision Management and Decision Modeling

What Is It?

The success and profitability of your business depends largely on how well you make operational decisions and how quickly you learn from their outcomes. Decisions are choices your business makes, perhaps hundreds or thousands of times a day, such as: whether a customer is automatically approved for credit, which products and services are offered to a client given their eligibility and previous behavior, whether an insurance claim should be processed without investigation and which regulatory procedures are relevant to each transaction.

Whether these decisions are automated within your transaction systems or performed manually by members of your staff, how they are made and how their business value is assessed are vital assets to your company. All too often how decisions are made is buried in the heads of business experts, in policy manuals or in the darkest recesses of software code where their flaws and inefficiencies are hard to see.  Decision Management is a practical approach to bring your decision-making into the light to: make them transparent and accountable to all your stakeholders, render them accessible to your business experts and analysts, make them easier to modify and improve, ensure that they are as effective as they can be and ensure that they are used consistently and reliably. Decision management provides a strong context for the application of predictive analytics and business rules.

Decision Modeling is a vital part of decision management, it gives us a standard means of representing business decisions.

It’s important not to confuse business decisions and business rules.

What Are the Business Benefits?

Bring Decision-Making 'Out of the Shadows'



Decision Management brings important business decisions into the open where they can be reviewed, improved, tested and automated. Instead of hiding in the minds of subject matter experts, in reams of documentation, in obscure spreadsheets or legacy systems, decisions can be shared and improved by consensus.

Making decisions explicit in this way reveals flaws and inconsistencies and improves quality.

Standard Representation of Decision-Making


Instead of each company, team, individual or toolset representing decision-making using their own brand of spreadsheet, word document or visio diagram, the Decision Model and Notation (DMN) defines a powerful, open standard for documenting decisions that means you are not tied in to a specific toolset, vendor or business analyst.

An Executable Specification


Decisions expressed in the Decision Model and Notation (DMN) are not only transparent but directly executable. This means that business analysts can test them with real data to see how they behave and explore multiple ‘what if?’ scenarios. It also means they can be deployed directly into a decision service that can be used from your business processes without any manual translation into code by IT teams. This avoids the errors and omissions that coding can introduce.

Traceable Definition of Decision Logic


Using executable decisions models allows you to explain every behavior of your system after the fact. If the outcome of a decision is unexpected you can see exactly how it was reached by referring to the decision model. This accountability is generally useful, but vital in decision-making that supports regulatory compliance.

Safe Agility - Understand and Embrace Change


Because decision models capture all the sub-decisions, data and business knowledge that outcomes rely on, it is much easier to get a rapid impact assessment of any proposed change in decisions logic, input data or knowledge source. Armed with this, and the regression testing facility that most decision management stacks provide, you will never be surprised by the consequences of changes and can practice safe agility: the ability to alter your logic and check the consequences quickly and without error. Furthermore, decision modeling allows subject matter experts to explore the performance of alternate decision models. Both of these factors promote agility and innovation.

Rapid and Deep Understanding of Data Requirements



Using decision modeling rapidly drills down on your true data and knowledge requirements preventing the costly oversights that can lead to under or over provision of data.


Rapid Model Driven Deployment



Using the Decision Model and Notation (DMN) to express decision models has the added advantage that not only is it easy to understand by business subject matter experts, but models can be directly deployed into decision services providing a model driven development of business decisions, significantly decreasing the cost of change.

Effective Integration of Business Rules and Analytics


Decision modeling is a very effective means of integrating business rules, predictive analytics, optimization and cognitive aspects of decision-making into one coherent whole. Decision modeling can be used to consolidate BRMS, analytics, optimization and cognitive technologies.

Bring Decision-Making 'Out of the Shadows'

An Executable Specification

Traceable Definition of Decision Logic

Understand and Embrace Change

Rapid and Deep Understanding of Data Requirements



Agile Model Driven Deployment

Effective Integration of Business Rules and Analytics


Find Out More – Request Our White Papers


Discover more about Decision Management and Decision Modeling in Jan Purchase and James Taylor’s book. Find out more details here or request two free chapters. You can buy the book here.

Consult our blog for an introduction to decision management and modeling and some introductory videos. Lux Magi are also presenting a free webinar about decision modeling with partners Trisotech. See here for more information.

In addition feel free to request a download of our white papers listed below. Just click on the link to request a download.


WP231 Rapid and Cost Effective Financial Compliance with Decision Management
WP232 Why and How to Apply Decision Modeling
WP202 The Top Ten Mistakes Made By Corporate Adopters of BRMS and How to Avoid Them
WP204 Business Rule Management Systems: What You Don’t Get ‘Out out the Box’

DMN On-Ramp Launch To Help Industry Adoption

Lux Magi’s own Jan Purchase was elected as chairmen of the DAO DMN On-Ramp (DMNOR) committee in May 2021. In this article, we explain the purpose of the committee and its first deliverables to help businesses adopt DMN.

Decision Management and Machine Learning: The Ideal Partnership

I discuss how decision management can be used as a unifying framework to integrate machine learning (ML) models and business rules (often expressed as decision tables) into decisions that learn. I show why this partnership is beneficial to both ML and decision modelling.

DMN Recognized as Mortgage Industry Standard

MISMO announced that it adopting the decision model and notation (DMN) as a standard for documenting, implementing, executing and exchanging business rules and decisions across the mortgage industry.

Better AI Transparency Using Decision Modeling

Second in our series on how decision models help in the use of AI, we examine how DMN can improve the transparency of machine learning models and help them to justify their outcomes.

Improve Your Chances of AI Success with Decision Modeling

Contrary to the hype, many enterprises are discovering that the use of narrow AI and machine learning to strengthen their business automation does not guarantee success and, frequently, the promised business benefits remain elusive. Why is this and how can decision management help?

A Practitioner’s Review of DMN 1.2

In April 2016, I summarized our experiences of decision modelling in DMN by publishing two wish lists of the features I’d like to see in the next version of the standard. Now the new version, DMN 1.2, is released, we look at the major new features that made it into this release, how these impact users of the standard and what we think of these changes.

Decision Management: The Elevator Pitch

Join us for a three minute elevator conversation about the importance of decision management.

Picture: How Decision Management Supports GDPR

See in a single diagram why Decision Management and Decision Modeling underpin any successful initiative to support GDPR.

Overcoming the Challenges of Financial Decisions with DMN

Join Lux Magi and business partner, Trisotech, to discover how Decision Management addresses the key risks of regulatory compliance. This webinar outlined the practical difficulties of supporting mandatory...

Decision Modeling: The Bottom Line

Why should organizations model their important business decisions as part of digital transformation? We’ve been asked so many times to explain how our clients have benefited from decision modeling that we decided to capture it here. This article covers seven reasons to adopt decision modeling and summarizes the bottom-line benefits decision modeling has brought to companies that use it effectively.

How TDM Principles Inform Good Practice in DMN

Decision Modeling notations have been adopted by companies to improve the integrity, transparency and agility of their important business decisions. They facilitate the management of business decisions as a vital...

Integrating Business Decisions and Processes: Effective Collaboration of DMN and BPMN

Join us for this live presentation in picturesque Dublin to learn about the best practices and traps of integrating business processes with business decisions. Why should organizations model their business...

Book Review: DMN in Action with OpenRules

Prominent and prolific contributor to the field of decision management and business rules, Jacob Feldman, has recently written a guide to decision modelling that is approachable, focused, intensely practical and...

Introduction to Decision Modeling 6

Ahead of the publication of our joint book on Decision Modeling, to be released later this year, James Taylor and I have made a series of video shorts about business decision modeling. In this last video, James and...

Introduction to Decision Modeling 5

Ahead of the publication of our joint book on Decision Modeling, to be released later this year, James Taylor and I have made a series of video shorts about business decision modeling. In this brief video, James...